DIY: How to protect yourself from the next ransomware virus? Hint: It has nothing to do with opening emails
The terrifying truth about the recent ransom virus is that it didn’t spread by opening an email or downloading a dodgy program. In fact, it didn’t need any active user input in order to affect so many computers. The unlucky victims just woke up to a reality where their entire information was deleted.
Updating your computer will protect you from current viruses, but not from this new kind of malware. However, we can succeed in protecting ourselves from similar viruses if we understand the underlying pattern.
The last virus gained access to the victims’ information by exploiting their operating system’s active services. Think about it like this. You have many powerpoints in your house. If one of them is exposed, it will electrocute you when you touch it even if the rest are fine. It’s the same with your operating system. The are many integrated services within the system, but only one needs to be infected in order to affect your entire computer.
What can you do? The best solution is disconnecting power from powerpoints that are not in use — or in your operating system — stopping services that are inactive. Here’s how:
Press the WINDOWS button + R
In the command window type services.msc
You’ll see a list of services. You can stop any services you don’t recognize. If you encounter any trouble when stopping a service, don’t worry. Just restart it.
This would have worked for the recent victims. If they’d have stopped their system’s server service, the virus wouldn’t have been able to affect them.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t stop the Windows update service, as it will prevent you from receiving important system updates.
Disclaimer: The solution I’ve presented is effective for many cases, but not for all. You should always seek professional advice before engaging with security issues. Use the method I described at your own discretion.